USA Qualifies Team for Olympic Grand Prix Special, All 3 Riders & Horses Make Freestyle for Individual Competition

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Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper in the Olympic Grand Prix to help qualify the U.S. team for the Grand Prix Special medals competition and as individuals in the Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2021 Lily Forado for dressage-news.com

July 25, 2021

The United States rode it way into the Olympic Grand Prix Special team competition and all three riders and horses advanced to the Grand Prix Freestyle to contest individual medals in Tokyo.

Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper and Adrienne Lyle on Salvino qualified Sunday to join Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo who competed Saturday in the Grand Prix to seek to be on the team medals podium Tuesday and to battle for honors in the Freestyle Wednesday.

The U.S. ranked fourth after two days of the Grand Prix to determine the top eight from 14 teams that had sought to move on to the Special.

Sabine, 52, of Napa, California and Sanceo, 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion, posted a personal best 78.416% with Steffen, 56, of San Diego, California and Suppenkasper, 13-year-old KWPN gelding, scoring 76.196% and Adrienne, 36, of Wellington, Florida and Salvino, 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion, on 74.876%.

The scores from the Grand Prix do not carry over to the Special, where each team starts with a clean slate.

Steffen, in his fifth Olympics, said he felt “great” after the ride in which Suppenkasper started “super relaxed” with the same feeling he had in dominating the Florida circuit over the past two years.

The ride Sunday, he said, was “even cleaner” than in Florida though he was more careful in parts to avoid mistakes.

“We’re going to step it up a little in the Grand Prix Special,” he said. “The Special flows a bit more. For a big moving horse it’s a better test.”

Adrienne Lyle on Salvino in the Grand Prix. © 2021 Lily Forado for dressage-news.com

For Adrienne and Salvino the score was their lowest since February of 2019 and came after the Florida winter circuit in which they became only the third American combination ever to have a result of 80% or better in the Grand Prix and logged record scores in both the Grand Prix and the Special.

Adrienne, who rode Wizard in the 2012 London Games and with Salvino was on the silver medal team at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, said the horse had been schooling well ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

“Unfortunately,” she said, “he went in there and got a little tense and tight and lost a little balance, the self carriage was not where it needed to be so it was far below what he is capable of.”

The pair will take time to recover Monday and go through a video of Sunday’s ride to see how the performance can be tweaked.

“They’re living animals,” she said, “some days they’re not perfect. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Some times it just happens.”